Our dentists in Winnipeg explain what you can expect in a gum graft procedure and how you can prepare for it if your dentists recommends one.
What can I expect from a gum graft?
If you are diagnosed with gum disease, your gums could recede, leaving the roots of your teeth exposed. This can make the surfaces of your teeth more vulnerable to abrasions, sensitivity, and decay.
In this situation, your dentist might recommend a gingival gum graft to help the condition. Here we will explain the benefits of the procedure, how you can prepare for it, the success rate of the procedure, and other aspects you should consider.
What is a gingival gum graft?
In a gingival gum graft tissues are removed from a patient’s palate and then grafted (transplanted) to an area where the gums have receded. Sometimes, this technique entails using tissue from a donor.
The Benefits of Gingival Gum Grafts
A gingival gum graft is able to:
- Stabilize and strengthen the gum covering a tooth
- Protect the tooth against further gum recession
- Restore the natural appearance of your smile (depending on the case)
- Decrease sensitivity in teeth where the gum has worn away by covering the exposed root with new gum tissue
How You Can Prepare
- Two appointments are needed for a gum graft: the first to perform the surgery and the second to remove sutures and check that the graft is healing correctly.
- You don't have to modify your diet or fast prior to the procedure – just arrive at your appointment on time.
- You’ll want to arrange a ride to and from your appointment, as you’ll be taking medication for pain and discomfort, which could make it unsafe to drive.
- The oral surgeon will use local anesthesia to numb the area affected by the procedure.
- The procedure usually takes about an hour and a half.
- Your graft will be sutured, so you’ll need to rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash.
- You’ll be given care instructions – follow them exactly to make sure your graft heals as it’s supposed to.
Your dentist or oral surgeon will take the following steps to perform the gum graft procedure:
Local anesthesia is injected at the graft harvesting site (where the tissue will be removed from the palate), and on the area receiving the transplant.
The graft tissue is harvested.
The tissue will be grafted onto the site where the gum is receding.
The success rate for gum grafts is very high. Usually, the likelihood of success increases considerably when patients brush and floss correctly following the procedure.
Another Option: Pinhole Surgical Technique
The Pinhole Surgical Technique is an alternative option to a gum graft and provides immediate results. This less invasive procedure involves the surgeon poking a small hole in the gum above the tooth or teeth that require treatment.
A special instrument is then used to carefully move the gums to the correct position. A small angled instrument is then used to thread collagen strips or gum graft material through the entry point, where they are placed under the gums.